Monday, May 30, 2011

News From Ald. Osterman On Somerset (And More)

Ald. Osterman sent out his first newsletter last week and says they'll be sent every Friday (following the tradition of Gene Schulter (47th), who sent out Friday newsletters like clockwork until the last two months of his term in office).  Here's some of the news included in it.  If you'd like to get the newsletter sent to you, sign up at
  • Somerset Place.  "Yesterday I passed my first city ordinance in committee to re-zone the 5009 N. Sheridan Rd. property, formally known as The Somerset Nursing Home. The ordinance effectively re-zones the property from a “B1-5 Neighborhood Shopping District” to a “RS3-Residential Single-Unit District”.  Future use of this site for any development would have to go through a community process and an appropriate zoning change to move forward. This ordinance was originally filed by former Alderman Mary Ann Smith.  The City Council will vote on this measure at the next meeting on Tuesday, June 8th."  [UU Note:  Ald. Cappleman tweeted:  "Voted yes today to support Uptown residents requesting to downzone the Somerset property."  All this communication!  Our heads hurt from the shock of it all.]
  • Want to Join Positive Loitering?  "I also joined the efforts of the Carmen-Winona Block Club and Castlewood Terrace Association of our ward to deter crime in the Uptown Neighborhood.  With the help of more than 30 neighborhood residents on a cold night, together we kept a watchful eye on our streets and helped our police officers improve the safety of our community.  If you would like to join fellow community members in “positive loitering” efforts, please contact Jared Desecki from my staff at"
  • Need Infrastructure?  "My staff and I are also in the process of providing the city a list of our ward’s infrastructure repair needs (street resurfacing, new and improved street lighting, etc.).  Please send any infrastructure requests you may have to Jared Desecki via email,"
  • "Ward Office Open House, Saturday, June 4, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Come and see your recently remodeled ward office and meet Alderman Harry Osterman and his staff.  We also invite you to bring any service and infrastructure requests or ideas you have for the neighborhood. Light refreshments will be available."


  1. Good news on the Somerset front. It will probably sit vacant for a few years given the economic climate, but it's nice to know it won't be reopening as another social service building. Market rate apartments would be ideal, but i don't think the market rate for the 'hood is high enough yet to entice a developer to jump on it.

  2. The Sheridan Plaza, which is very similar to The Somerset, is market rate rentals and was close to 100% filled when I looked at an apartment a year ago. So there's a definite market.

    What I'd like to see is the long-rumored "boutique hotel" go into one of the many former hotels that still stand in Uptown -- like The Somerset. Any developer knows it's cheaper to rehab than to build from scratch... unless free TIF money is involved, of course. Why not convert an existing structure, that was built to be a hotel, back into a hotel?

  3. The Sheridan Plaza is a nice example, a lot has changed economically since that project was first started, but if anything i think the Somerset location is a little better. So you might be right as far as the market for market rentals is concerned. Especially with financing to buy being so hard to secure these days, the rental market could very well be stronger than i suspected.

    That said, it's definitely not always cheaper to rehab. I have no idea on the condition of the Somerset, but if deferred maintenance was as common as i suspect given the previous owners concern with nothing but the bottom line, a lot of work needs to be done.

    I know a lot of you, myself included would like to see it restored to it's former self, but it's going to take someone with some vision and deep pockets.

  4. Does Cappleman have a newsletter? Would be nice...

  5. FYI if anyone wants some detail on Chicago zoning codes, it also shows why the "any development would have to go through a community process and an appropriate zoning change to move forward", part is now the case for the property.